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Evaluating Sources

A guide to evaluating the credibility of the sources of information you use in your assignments.

Why care about peer-reviewed journal articles?

Confused iconPeer-review (also known as refereeing) is the process journal editors use to ensure the articles they publish meet the standards of good scholarship. Academic papers (journal articles, research papers, etc) are examined by a panel of other scholars in the field (the author's peers). The panel may decide to accept the paper, recommend revision or reject it completely. Any resource that passes the peer-review process can be considered to have the highest level of academic credibility - although of course you still need to consider other elements such as age and relevance. 

Many of your assignments will specify that only peer-reviewed resources are to be used. This means you will need to evaluate the journal articles you find as many journals don't peer-review their papers.

Searching for peer-reviewed journal articles

Some databases allow you to narrow your search to return only peer-reviewed results. Unfortunately this process differs from database to database. Sometimes this is as easy as simply ticking a box that says “Peer-reviewed”.

JCU OneSearch logo   One Search - Tick the "Scholarly & Peer-Review" option (top left).




 Pro-Quest –   Tick the “peer-reviewed” box on the search page prior to searching.


  Gale Academic FileOne  -  Tick “Peer Reviewed Journals" on the results page
Informit logo

Type the Yes in the PRAI - Peer Reviewed Article Indicator field

To find the PRAI - Peer Reviewed Article Indicator field:

scroll to the bottom of the search fields (in) drop down menu,

click on Show all other fields -->

scroll down to PRAI - Peer Reviewed Article Indicator 


Informit search box

Recognising elements of a scholarly journal article

Confirming a journal is peer-reviewed

Peer-review or refereed?

Refereed and peer reviewed mean the same thing.

If you are not sure if a journal is peer reviewed, check it out in Ulrich's international periodicals directory (online).

  1. Go to Ulrich's website (see link below)
  2. Type the title of the journal in the Title search box
  3. If the journal has an icon like a referee's shirt next to it...

Referee jersey icon...that means it is refereed / peer reviewed.

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